Jackie Farrell obituary: ‘A very special man’

Covid-19 Lives lost: ‘He was our hero. He had a heart that was made of gold’

This article is one of a series about people who have died with coronavirus in Ireland and among the diaspora. Read more at irishtimes.com/covid-19-lives-lost. If you would like a friend or family member included in the series, please email liveslost@irishtimes.com

Jackie Farrell 1931-2020

Jackie Farrell from Strabane was the father of a family that was hit hard by Covid-19.

His daughter Ursula spent several weeks in intensive care as a result of the virus, but survived.

But Jackie, who was 88, succumbed very quickly to the illness. He died in Altnagelvin Hospital in Derry on April 2nd, a day after being admitted.


Farrell was predeceased by his wife, Mary, and survived by his seven children, John, Liam, Deirdre, Ursula, Bernadine, Kieran and Maria, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

“He was so humorous. He was a great fun man. If he didn’t have anything good to say about someone, he wouldn’t say anything,” Maria says.

His granddaughter Bronagh Farrell described her grandfather as a "very special man".

She told the Strabane Chronicle: “I and the rest of my family spent our lives adoring, admiring and idolising him. He was our hero. He had ears that truly listened, arms that always held, love that was never ending and a heart that was made of gold.”

The people of Strabane showed their respects for their father by lining the route to the cemetery.

The burial service, which was conducted under the rules of social distancing, was attended by fewer than a dozen mourners. The Farrell family made the footage available to the BBC to demonstrate how Covid-19 can devastate lives.

Maria went on television and told viewers that families should not think Covid-19 would not come to them.

“I know my daddy is with my mummy now,” she said. “I’m not sad. I know he had a good life. I was so proud to call him Daddy. He was always my hero, my superman and we always had great fun together. That, Covid-19 can’t take away.”

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times